Workshop on "The Road to Doha"

Eva Hanfstaengl

On 29 June 2007, a workshop on "The Road to the International Review Conference on FfD" was held in Geneva in the context of the Civil Society Development Forum in Geneva, organized by CONGO and the Millennium Campaign.

Theevent brought together over 600 participants. Eva Hanfstaengl (NGO Committee onFfD) presented the background of the FfD process. John Foster (North-SouthInstitute) informed about progress of the "Leading Group on SolidarityLevies for Development". Mr. Foster highlighted that France had launched anairlines levy for drug purchase, joined by a 24 other countries. One of the keyinnovations was the principle that taxes for global objectives could beinitiated nationally, without universal consensus.

The Third Plenary meeting of the Group would be held in Seoul in September 2007.NGO networks were currently seeking a champion country to initiate a pilotcurrency transaction tax. Philo Morris (NGO Committee on FFD) highlighted theoptions for NGOs to fully engage in the FfD process. She also mentioned that inpreparation of the High-level Dialogue on FfD, the GA will hold the 2008 springmeeting of ECOSOC with BWIs, WTO and UNCTAD and the Development CooeperationForum (July 2008).

Kinda Mohammedieh (Arab NGO Network for Development) reported on the debate onthe "Financing Development to achieve the MDGs" that took place inDoha, Qatar on 17-18 June. Ms. Jean Saldanha (CIDSE) highlighted importanttopics for the Doha agenda, including, a fair, comprehensive and transparentprocedure to negotiate debt cancellation and international cooperation againsttax evasion and capital flight, as well as the establishment of a world taxorganization. Finally, the following recommendations were made and presented toECOSOC:

1. The Doha Conference should be at the Summit level, have a full preparatoryprocess including periodic meetings of a preparatory committee and an outcomedocument.

2. Debt cancellation and humanitarian relief must not be included in thedefinition of ODA. The Millennium Development Goals should be instrumental indebt sustainability criteria.

3. International support should be given for further pilot projects ininnovative financing, in particular the currency transaction tax to financedevelopment objectives.

4. Progressive national tax systems should be developed to redistribute wealthand resist tax competition. Tax havens must be closed and tax evasion eliminated.

5. The reform of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) mustincorporate representative voice and vote of the global South. ECOSOC should bestrengthened, in particular, its role in establishing accountability andcoordination of the IFIs.

6. A "Forum on FfD" should be established involving active engagementof Development and Finance ministries, key multilateral institutions, NGOs andthe private sector.

(From "The Road to Doha", a newsletter by UN-NGLS, Geneva)